CBD: Not Yet Legal Everywhere, Sometimes Used Questionably


Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, appears in a variety of over-the-counter medicines. Before using this substance as a sleep aid — or as anything else — it’s good to keep in mind several facts, experts say. 

  • It’s not yet legal everywhere in the United States, even with a prescription. You can get it shipped to you, but it’s ultimately regulated by your state legislature. In some cases, the state legislature passes the regulation down to counties. This patchwork of laws makes the Internet a dubious source of advice as to its legality. 

To make its legal status even more confusing, in some places CBD is legal only for certain conditions. In Texas, for example, it’s legal to treat pediatric seizures but not other uses, except where approved by the county.  

If your state has licensed medical marijuana vendors, you’re in luck. That means its legal status is clearer. 

To determine whether it’s legal where you live, ask local law enforcement.  

  • If you use CBD as a sleep aid, this counts as a medication on your medication list when you see your doctor. Any other vitamins, herbs and other over-the-counter remedies also count. If you use a CBD product that’s mixed with other herbal sleep aids, it’s important to make sure each item is listed separately on the medication reconciliation. This is important because each of these items can interact with any other medications you’re already on.   

A longer medication list isn’t better. When it comes to checking for interactions, some databases struggle to keep up as the list length grows. Also, some of these substances are less-well studied than others. They’re not included in the database. In the interest of simplicity, it’s better and safer to use an over-the-counter medication with a single component as opposed to a combination. For example, this sleep aid has CBD and three other components. There’s a greater chance that interactions have been noted for that single item as opposed to a particular combination. 

  • CBD oils are distilled in a variety of ways using a variety of cannabis strains. This results in a variety of different concentrations of active ingredients. It’s conceivable that when a person tries one brand made out of one strain as a remedy, it might not work but another would. 

Many say the liberalization of marijuana and marijuana derivatives is good. As a society, we spent far too much money on enforcement. Also, people should have as much freedom as possible. However, the product category is loosely regulated. This has consequences. Some vendors are unscrupulous. Tests by the Food and Drug Administration show that some samples of purported CBD actually have no CBD in them! It’s important to use single-item therapies and to buy from reputable manufacturers and vendors.

Research on these components as to their ability to treat insomnia continues though it’s better to not have to take any medication no matter what it is.